A heat wave has hit the city and like usual it's turned us into lazy lumps who recoil in the cool darkness of our home. Neither of us are cut out for doing more than beachside lounging once the temperature rises, let alone entertaining the thought of cooking. More often than not we'll turn to popsicles for each and every meal (see my new favourite flavour coming next week), but sometimes we'll break it up and chow down on epically large salads made from garden kale and whatever grains and beans we can scrape together. Easy peasy and simple is our favourite way to go this time of year. So, when I received Izy Hossack's second book, The Savvy Cook, in the mail a couple of weeks ago, I was immediately drawn to the huge array of time-efficient recipes with just a few ingredients.
While the cookbook market may feel a bit overwhelming these days, The Savvy Cook has instantly become one of the most well used reference books in our house (along with Laura's book, The First Mess). The recipes in it are innovative and hip (like the kind of food you'd see in some trendy NYC or LA cafe) but founded in traditional honest fare like pastas, pancakes, and stews. Unlike her first book which was mainly baking (and one that I often use when I'm baking for guests), this book is entirely vegetarian, often vegan, and very veggie heavy. So far I've entertained friends with her Lentil and Fennel Ragu with Balsamic Onions, and One Bowl Chocolate Cake with Magic Ganache (made with yams and zucchini), as well as her Crispy Broccoli Tacos with 'Chorizo' Dip, on more than one weeknight occasion.
I first met Izy during that summer I was living in NYC. She was a friend of a friend of mine and, after one thing led to another, we eventually connected and bonded over hobnobs, The Great British Bakeoff, and Pimm's Cups. The first thing I noticed about Izy was her undying passion about food and wellness. When we talk about wellness these days, it's often accompanied with the latest potions, powders, and trends. But with Izy, wellness means wellness in the truest sense. A student of Food Science and Nutrition, she is fiercely smart and has a natural skepticism about fads and buzzwords, which in a world where everyone seems to go with the flow, is entirely refreshing. Instead, she focuses on facts and the truth behind what is in fact nutritious - like veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats. As a result, her recipes are user friendly and financially approachable.
This zingy carrot salad is one of those recipes I fell in love with at first sight. Maximum flavour with few ingredients. And, beyond a little boiling, there is actually no cooking required. If you already have a batch of pickled onions in the fridge (which I highly recommend) this dish will come together in less than 15 minutes, which is perfect for days like these. I've made this recipe as it appears in the book, but I think additions like fresh basil, tempeh or tofu, or even some sliced cucumber could be added if you're feeling extra special (or energetic).
From The Savvy Cool by Izy Hossack. Copyright © 2017.
Reprinted by permission of Mitchell Beazley - Octopus Publishing Group
ZINGY CARROT + RICE NOODLE SALAD
Serves 2. Print it Here
2 Large Carrots, Peeled into ribbons
3 ½ oz (100 g) dry vermicelli
1 ¼ Cups frozen corn (thawed), or fresh and cooked if available
1 Large handful cilantro, chopped
2 Green Onions, sliced
1 Handful Cashews, chopped
Handful pickled red onions (recipe below)
½ tsp. Sea salt
Juice of 2 limes
¼ Cup rice wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. Honey or unrefined cane sugar (other liquid sweeteners would work too)
2 tsp. Grated ginger
1 Clove garlic, minced
½ Red chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 Star anise (optional)
- Make the dressing by combining all the ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat on medium heat until the sugar melts and the mixture begins to steam. Remove the dressing from the heat and add the carrots. Set aside to cool
- Put the vermicelli in a heatproof bowl and cover with just boiled water. Let stand for five minutes to soften, then drain.
- Remove the star anise from the carrot mixture and toss the dressing with the noodles, and corn. Transfer to a bowl and garnish with cilantro, cashews, green onions, and pickled red onions.
QUICK PICKLED RED ONION
1 Red onion, thinly sliced
¼ Cup apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. Sugar
½ tsp. Sea salt
¼ Cup water
- Place the onion slices in a bowl or jar.
- In a small saucepan heat up the remaining ingredients until the sugar dissolved, then pour over the onions
- Let the onions sit for at least 30 minutes
- Keep in the refrigerator for about a week.